From Straight A Student to Model Entrepreneur

Rainer Denndörfer is one of the most dazzling CEOs in our region. His company BD SENSORS is one of the leading global manufacturers of electronic pressure measuring devices.

Among the entrepreneurs of this region, he is most certainly one of the most dazzling, in the positive sense of the word. “Politicians are elected, managers are appointed, but entrepreneurs are born,” says Rainer Denndörfer. Knowing full well that CEOs of his kind are becoming a rarity, the wiry 62-year old adds: “To be a true entrepreneur, that is a calling, not a profession.”  

Rainer Denndörfer is seated in a magnificent building located at the outskirts of the Thierstein community. The noblesse reflected by the head offices mirrors the reputation and success of the company that Denndörfer founded 18 years ago: BD SENSORS is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic measuring devices on the global market. The complex and highly sensitive products that are manufactured in two facilities, one in Thierstein, and one in the Czech Buchlovice, are used in many industrial sectors: in the chemical, oil and gas industry as well as in plant and machine construction, in the ship-building industry, in the energy industry, and in the food and luxury food industry.

  Rainer Denndörfer did not become successful just like that. In his younger years, he not only benefited from his hard work, ambition, and fighting spirit, but predominantly from his abilities and talent. In school, he only earned As in math and physics. When he graduated from the Sigmund-Ohm-Fachhochschule [technical university] in Nuremberg with a degree in electrical engineering and a GAP of 1.33 [=3.67 in the US system], he was one of the youngest (and best) graduates of the post-war era. Prior to going into business for himself, Denndörfer rose through the ranks of ABM Greiffenberger in Marktredwitz, where he started as a development engineer and ended up as the operations manager of the electric motor factory.     At BD SENSORS, the company’s founder is still very much involved. “It is very important to me to hold all the strings even when it comes to the daily business,” says Rainer Denndörfer. As one of the two product managers of the BDS Group and one of the most important process optimizers, both in the administration and the production sector, he continues to control and correct as needed. “Stress is not something negative for me,” the agile entrepreneur admits. “On the contrary, the bigger and more successful the BDS Group becomes, the less personally stressed I feel and the more time I have for what is important, both in my job and in my private life.”

In his spare time, and in his “second job”, Rainer Denndörfer has left marks that are typical for this committed, social, and dynamic contemporary. On the side, as he calls it, he ran three clubs in Thierstein, Weiden, and Limbach-Oberfrohna. “Gastronomy teaches you total customer focus,” Denndörfer tells us. “And as a soccer coach, you learn to manage people.” Aside from rock music, soccer is Denndörfer’s greatest passion. He played for and coached at his favorite soccer club ZV Thierstein. “Even when I was 55 years old, I still played in the second division,” he smiles. “Well, but usually only during one half.” The generous entrepreneur supports ZV Thierstein and his other favorite soccer clubs such as the FC Vorwärts Röslau, as well as other organizations and daycares in the region with donations.   

I am the richest man in the world

What wealth means to him?“I am the richest man in the world,” Rainer Denndörfer answers quick as a shot. “But not just when it comes to money. I am completely independent, which is the best thing there is, and which not many people have.”    What really makes Denndörfer crazy is the “bureaucratic insanity” in Germany, the “public servant and bureaucrat apparatus that is completely out of control and can no longer be financed.” “The Euro crisis is only a public debt crisis, caused by the redistribution and bureaucracy insanity of the political decision makers. The only difference between Germany and countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy would be its successful, innovative small and medium-sized businesses, nothing less and nothing more,” he says. At some point, he adds, society would milk the cow of “German small and mid-sized businesses” to death.   

With regret Denndörfer, who loves to read historic fiction as well sociopolitical and economic contemporary literature and who cites the scientist Albert Einstein and the statesman Abraham Lincoln as his idols, watches what is happening in society. “The level of education at schools and universities is decreasing at an alarming rate,” the former A student says. “It makes it hard for companies to find qualified personnel.” He fails to understand why, in spite of declining birth rates, millions of workers in their 50s and 60s have retired early from their work life “without a real reason and sanctioned by society.” “I would hire a 70-year-old any time,” he says, “If he has the right attitude and experience and is not just looking for a job.”   

Rainer Denndörfer, who has been happily married for over 40 years, is pleased to note that his family is very close. Both of his children Stefan and Corinna and his daughter-in-law Katrin already work for the BDS Group; his grandchild Patrick will study engineering once he graduates from high school, and is getting ready to follow in his grandfather’s technical footsteps. Rainer Denndörfer himself wants to keep mixing it up in the company as long as possible. “At least for another 20 years,” he adds Consequently, the company’s sophisticated reception area, the “BD Forum”, will probably see many more good rock concerts because, aside from his company, Rainer Denndörfer loves rock music above all else.      

Problem Solver for its Customers  

The BD Sensors Group was founded in 1994 in Thierstein and the Czech Uherské Hradišté. The company has 260 employees and produces and distributes its products from five locations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Russia, the Ukraine, and China. This manufacturer of pressure measuring devices and filling level probes plays a leading role in the industry throughout the world. According to CEO Rainer Denndörfer, its biggest competitors can mainly be found in Germany and Switzerland. “Our flexibility is what makes us so competitive,” the CEO emphasizes. “We have 70 standard products, but we have developed hundreds of customized applications in response to special requirements. We are problem solvers for our customers.” According to Denndörfer, this is also what characterizes successful mid-sized companies: “They are not successful because they are actively involved in many areas, but because they master one particular area better than others.”